Molecular Design of Single‐Atom Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction
Chengzhang Wan, Xiangfeng Duan, Yu Huang
Adv. Energy Mater. 10, 1903815 (2020)
Fuel cells are highly attractive for direct chemical‐to‐electrical energy conversion and represent the ultimate mobile power supply solution. However, presently, fuel cells are limited by the sluggish kinetics of the cathodic oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), which requires the use of Pt as a catalyst, thus significantly increasing the overall cost of the cells. Recently, nonprecious metal single‐atom catalysts (SACs) with high ORR activity under both acidic and alkaline conditions have been recognized as promising cost‐effective alternatives to replace Pt in fuel cells. Considerable efforts have been devoted to further improving the ORR activity of SACs, including tailoring the coordination structure of the metal centers, enriching the concentration of the metal centers, and engineering the electronic structure and porosity of the substrate. Herein, a brief introduction to fuel cells and fundamentals of the ORR parameters of SACs and the origin of their high activity is provided, followed by a detailed review of the recently developed strategies used to optimize the ORR activity of SACs in both rotating disk electrode and membrane electrode assembly tests. Remarks and perspectives on the remaining challenges and future directions of SACs for the development of commercial fuel cells are also presented.